When this report was rolled out in the early summer of 2011 (the indirect product of more than three years of work, mind you) the public skewered it. There is really no nicer way to put it, because the amount of support this report received was infinitesimal when compared to the wave of disapproval.
When Supervisor John Clarkson was elected to office (he was co-chairperson of the subcommittee that released the aforementioned report, by the way) one of his first actions was to form a Governance Options Study Committee (among others) whose charge was nearly identical to that of the then-defunct 20/20 subcommittee he co-chaired. The only change was the group was also to study a ward structure.
So here Bethlehem stands, with more than four years of study, debate, public meetings and even one vote (the Town Board in August of 2011 halted a proposal to extend the supervisor’s term in a 3-2 vote). It becomes more and more clear there is either a lack of political will to make a tough and risky decision or a sentiment you should not fix what is not broken. Or perhaps both.
Either way, the Town Board is to be applauded for turning its attention to more pressing matters and refraining from spending precious time reliving the past. Let’s hope it does the same later this year when this issue comes back around and approach government reform with a focused mission in mind, rather than the kitchen sink approach that has been used so far.
Or alternatively, another committee could be formed to produce another report, perhaps on dead horses and the various options for beating one. There must still be a few slots left on Town Hall’s bookshelves.